EDWARDSVILLE – If you've been attending the Edwardsville Futures tennis tournament at the Edwardsville Tennis Center anytime in the past, chances are you've seen Emily Cimarolli at the main table in the back, keeping things running smoothly and getting players onto the courts quickly.
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Cimarolli has been a fixture at the Futures tournament since the very first one, acting as coordinator for the day-to-day operations of the event, making sure that everyone gets assigned to a court to play their matches and making sure that everything is running seamlessly.
It's not a very easy job, but she does it with style, grace, and always with a friendly smile. And she, of course, is looking forward to working again when the tournament starts on July 24.
"This is our 12th year and we're very excited to host it again," Cimarolli said.
"One of my main jobs is to run the tournament desk, so I help players get onto courts and make sure that they have everything they need on the courts during their matches. This is one of the highlights of my summer, for sure, if not my year, just seeing all the pro players and being able to follow them through their careers at the Grand Slams following that."
Cimarolli had been involved in local tennis since childhood and sees her role in the tournament as giving back to her community that helped her when she was younger.
"I've played from a young age and Dave Lipe (the longtime boys and girls tennis coach at Edwardsville High and the tournament director) is a huge part of that. I've played at his academy growing up in high school and so, it's great to give back to the community that I took part in growing up as a child. And so, being able to have that experience and for our current players in Edwardsville is great to have."
Being a part of the Edwardsville community also means very much to Cimarolli.
"We have great community partners, we have great school district partners, restaurants and hotels, and all the amenities we have for the players and the fans too. The fans come over and they're able to eat in these restaurants and see the community that we love so much. It's a great experience."
Cimarolli's favorite part of Futures week? Being able to interact with the players and following their careers past the tournament.
"Just seeing all the players here," Cimarolli said, "and being able to follow their career after that. Wimbledon's been on the past two weeks, so every day, I go back to camp and say 'Hey, did you guys see so-and-so play their match? They've been in Edwardsville before.' And that's really cool to tell a 10-year-old kid that hey, this kid was in Edwardsville playing and now, they're at Wimbledon, so they can see that in the future as well."
And to see former players at Edwardsville go on to success in their careers on the Association of Tennis Professionals world tour, the Grand Slam tournaments, and beyond is very satisfying to Cimarolli and her co-workers.
"Across the tour as a whole, we're very proud of their accomplishments and we're just honored that they came and played a tournament in Edwardsville."
Cimarolli looks forward to the 12th edition of the Edwardsville Futures
"It's a good time," she said with a smile.
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